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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2009
This book is outstanding in every way (apart from the awful 'FCO' title) and provides substantial coverage of ALL chess openings. It addresses both understanding and specific moves and gives lots of unusually well written explanation. In addition it is, I think, superior to comparable alternatives. For example: Watson is far less comprehensive (despite 4 vols), has big gaps e.g. Petroff, and his coverage is both uneven and less practical; Djuric et al is far less deep (despite 4 vols); Collins, though good and comprehensive, is considerably shorter and less focused on understanding; Kallai, though good, is focused primarily on moves; Fine is hopelessly out of date and, in addition, not good. Sterren's opening book is a marvel which makes shelves of my introductory opening titles redundant.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2010
I agree with the other reviewer that this is by far the best introductory openings book. I also understand his point about Watson's uneven coverage in his otherwise impressive series, as I play the Petroff myself and can't understand its omission in Watson's book when there is a chapter devoted to the Philidor, for example. Back to the work at hand - it really is the best of these types of books (and I own Watson, Collins, Djuric series, NCO etc) and is a reprinted version of Sterrens 3 volume work originally published a few years back in Dutch, I believe. The quality of explanation is truly excellent, the depth of most variations' coverage is about right (although we will all have our pet openings that aren't covered as well as we'd hope for due to the inevitable space constraints - for example, I would like to have seen a little more on the Slav, especially the Chebanenko ...a6 variation) given the overall size of the project and the production values are typical Gambit, i.e. a step above Everyman but not necessarily in the same league as a typical Quality Chess title.
I have about 200 chess books and often find myself returning to openings compediums for a browse - this one has had a lot of use already and has rapidly become one of my favourites. For club players there is often enough to get up and running with an opening using this book alone - you can supplement it with the appropriate monographs once you've used it for a while and need more information, something that can rarely be said about NCO or MCO, for example.
An essential purchase, in my opinion.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2010
Well laid out and well explained. As chess opening books go, it's easy to read with plenty of diagrams. I think it doesn't contain details of every little variation going, but it's a good guide to the openings, explaining the history and theories of the various openings, and the major variations within each opening. And I haven't found any obvious mistakes yet. And at around 475 large pages, it's got to be good value for money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
While this book does not explore the lines of the openings to the depth of some other works I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The main reason I liked it was that the book does not only set out the openings but also puts a lot of emphasis of explaining the options and why certain lines are useful and where they lead. I feel it has certainly helped me improve my game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2013
A very good introctution for someone starting ot develop an opening repertoire, but this is probably better as a paper book rather than an electronic one: much as I love my Kindle, it's not quite so easy to nip around from place to place in a reference work such as this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2014
I really liked this openings book .

Plenty of history and good advice written in a reader friendly style.

The analysis is only about 10 moves deep but enough is written to understand the

future strategy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2014
As a fairly inexperienced club player (ECF rated 117), I found this very useful and surprisingly easy to read. It obviously cannot cover any individual opening in exhaustive detail, but gives a good overview of the early stages of the main lines with nice, clear explanations as to typical plans. A good buy for me (and it has helped as I've tried to play the Albin Counter Gambit from a position of no knowledge at all.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2014
if you want to know important ideas behind the openings this book is for you... it does not cover all the lines of all the openings but gives a good introduction to openings...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2012
I took a chance, and purchased this book on the comments already made; therefore I can't add any more. The only thing I would say: This book is the best I have ever read on chess opening; I can only give it the wow factor.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2011
I purchased this book for my husband who has restarted to play serious chess. He has found it of invaluble help and an asset to his already copious collection of chess reference, instruction and 'improve-your-play' books. Highly recommended.
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